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La Traviata

The Vancouver Opera is staging La Traviata at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre until May 12. I went opening night and the show was a success, despite a good chunk of the people sitting at the front leaving during the first few minutes because of a “bad smell.” Although the theatre staff cleaned up everything during the pause between the first and (very long) second act, for the first time in my life, I was glad to have a seat further back. 

Here’s what I loved/hated about the show.

Loved: 

1. The costumes! Isabella Bywater, a famed theatre designer, truly outdid herself. Even when the story was dull (the second act – man, it’s like the act that never ends), I was still stimulated because the costumes were so beautiful.

2. The orchestra. Several times I closed my eyes (*cough*second act*cough*) just to be serenaded by conductor Jacques Lacombe. 

3. All the old ladies wearing costume jewellery and too much perfume. I fit right in!

Hated:

1. The second act. 

2. The length. Intermission was 90 minutes in. It made going in to see the third and fourth acts unnaturally daunting.

3. The subtitles. There was a big screen at the top of the stage, which translated the Italian opera. It was unnecessary, distracting and tacky. Read the synopsis. Watch and listen to the story. Be moved. Isn’t that what the opera is supposed to be about? If I wanted to read cheesy English, I’d read the latest issue of Xtra.

…Oh no he din’t! 

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